With the All-Star game now in our rearview mirror, the trade deadline is quickly approaching. Yes, there’s still plenty of baseball left to play this season. However, with things as tight as they are in the NL Central, every game is starting to count.
As of Tuesday morning, the Chicago Cubs are two and a half games ahead of the Brewers and two games up on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
The North Siders have gone 5-5 through their previous 10 games and are in the middle of a nine-game home stand.
If we’ve been able to learn anything through the beginning of summer, the Cubs are still a very streaky team. When they are hitting on all cylinders, there aren’t many teams that can beat the Cubs. But, with just the slightest hiccup, the Cubs are getting shown up by the Marlins in their own backyard. The next three games against a division rival that the Cubs struggled with will show us just how hot they really are, right now.
With the trade deadline approaching, Chicago doesn’t exactly have a lot of money to play with. Remember, money is the reason the Cubs didn’t pursue Harper or Machado as aggressively as many fans would have liked. Because of the current finances, there are some limits to who we could go get.
You don’t have to look very hard to find one of the bigger issues Chicago needs to address. Picking up Craig Kimbel was huge for the North Side. The Cubs haven’t had this much confidence in a closer since winning the World Series. As nasty as Kimbel can be for opposing hitters, Chicago has still seen trouble in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. Don’t agree with me? Just check out the box score from last Friday’s game.
The Cubs could really use another solid arm or two backing up the starting rotation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a righty or lefty, the Cubs simply need someone they can count on to get through two or three innings without blowing a three-run lead.
While he’s always going to be a Wrigley hero, Kyle Schwarber could be just the bait needed to go after an arm or two, maybe three. Schwarber is currently in the last year of his contract with his second year of arbritration coming up. There are plenty of teams that one solid bat away from making some noise in the postseason for the AL.
Yes, Kyle is still a threat every time he steps into the batter’s box. That being said, there is only one player on the roster who has struck out more than he has this year. With bases loaded and one out in the seventh on Friday, Schwarber hit into a double play, closing the inning for the Cubs. The point isn’t that Schwarber needs to go because he can’t hit a ball. He simply isn’t the clutch hitter he was a few years ago. Because the man is still a threat at the plate, it may be in the Cubs best interest to see what they could get in a trade.
Schwarber currently has a line of .229/.325/.465. Attractive numbers by all means. That being said, as someone who watches the Cubs on a regular basis, it seems like he has had just as many moments we’ve felt let down as moments which have left us overwhelmed. Would it really hurt to at least see what the Cubs could go get for him?
There are only two pitchers outside of the starting rotation with an ERA under 4.00: Brandon Kintzler and Steve Cishek. Sure, any of the Chicago arms are able to have a stellar performance against any given opponent. But, with a one or two-run lead in the seventh inning during the month of September, it would be nice to be given just a little more confidence.
It seems like every year for the past three seasons, Schwarber’s name comes up in rumors during July. I think last year was a loud wakeup call. The Cubs are a great team with more potential than can be measured. That’s not enough to win in the postseason, though.
Chicago is producing with the lumber every spot one through eight. I’d never say they have more power with the bat than they need. I will say, however, I think what Schwarber provides could be replaced.
He’s currently sixth on the roster with a .229 average. Baez, Contreras, and Rizzo all have at least as many home runs as Kyle. Four players have driven in more runs than he has. There isn’t a batting category or stat Kyle Schwarber leads for the Cubs right now. Missing his bat won’t be what keeps the Cubs from winning after the regular season ends.
In all reality, what else could the Cubs do to make themselves any better within the next two weeks?